Awesome facial animations, good story, but gameplay isn't as much fun.
Since this is a console port, you get the inescapable lousy interface. Just one example: when you go the the map, you can not go back to the game world without going via the main menu.
When you start the game it'll spend a good 10 seconds "Checking for Downloadable Content". How about letting ME choose when to check things I don't even want???
L.A. Noire oozes style, the Rockstar way. Set in Los Angeles, in the late 40's, the world is beautifully crafted in the style of the day. Really cool. The game centers around solving criminal cases, in a sandbox world like Maffia or GTA.
You get assigned cases, drive to the crime scene, investigate the area, follow leads and question witnesses and suspects. You will spend a lot of time on the latter. The game showcases its fantastic facial animations as it asks you to judge whether people are lying or telling the truth.
There are a few issues though. You'll typically have a list of questions for your suspect, and then you judge their answer as Truth, Doubt or Lie, then they respond to that. Next you can counter the response with the right evidence (if you have it) in order to nail someone on a lie. Unfortunately your initial questions are often so vague, that the answer is likewise hard to judge or counter with any of the evidence. So you may have some perfectly good evidence, which stands on its own, but you fail to corner the suspect anyway.
It is often easy to follow a line of evidence to the conclusion of the case, and yet be informed that you ought to have persued a different trail first, but you can't really know that up front, it seems to me.
The story is spiced up with some randomized "Street crime" events, unfortunately these very often end up in a shootout and subsequent death of the suspects. I've tried warning shots and shooting people in arms and legs, but it seems you're forced to kill almost everyone that pulls a gun. Most gun fights are also extremely easy.
You can uncover hidden vehicles, but their problem is they are not saved and scripted events often replace your fancy car by a squad one, so it seems like a waste of time.
I like how L.A. Noire tries some new things, and the facial animations are definitely something to see, but playing the game could have been more fun than it really is.